December 15, 2016 12:00AM
As a young child in Paraguay, Tali Ayala-Feliciangeli spent much of her time thinking about how to help those in need.
“I saw a lot of homelessness in Paraguay, and I grew up trying to help them as much as I could,” she said.
Now a sophomore at Pittsburg State University, Ayala-Feliciangeli is focusing much of her time and energy toward helping the homeless here in this community.
“When I came here, I didn’t see much poverty,” she said. “But then a story came out this summer about the homeless problem in Pittsburg, and I definitely wanted to help.”
Ayala-Feliciangeli and junior Cameron Brown are leading a group of Pitt State Enactus students who are working with city leaders to develop a plan for homeless shelters in the community. More than 10 members of Enactus are working with the Pittsburg Homeless Solutions Task Force.
“What we’re trying to do right now is raise funds to get a shelter started in Pittsburg,” Brown said. “Our short-term goal is to find a place for homeless individuals to go this winter. Long term, we’d like to see an official homeless shelter go up in Pittsburg.”
Enactus students are assisting in various aspects of the project, including fundraising, finance, marketing, policies, procedures and donations. Becky Gray, director of housing and community development for the city of Pittsburg, praised the students for their hard work and dedication to the cause.
“I'm filled with inspiration watching the Enactus students respond to this community need,” Gray said. “Their professionalism, creativity and ability to get things done gives me hope for the future.”
Enactus recently held a donation drive for coats and blankets, which will be distributed to the local homeless to help keep them warm this winter.
“We are very committed to helping those in need,” Ayala-Feliciangeli said. “Being homeless is hard enough, but it’s even harder in the winter. We want to do everything we can to help those individuals stay warm.”
Brown said he’s proud of the work that his fellow students are putting into this project.
“Honestly, it’s not work at all when it really matters to you,” he said. “There was a time in my life when my family thought we’d be homeless for a while, so this is very personal for me. There are many who need help, and we’ll do whatever we can to provide that assistance.”
For more information on the Pittsburg Homeless Solutions Task Force, visit the group’s Facebook page.